Osteoarthritis consumers as co-researchers: identifying consumer insights to improve osteoarthritis management by co-designing translational research solutions

F. A. Braithwaite, J. Arnold, A. Davis, I. Gwilt, E. MacIntyre, S. Morris, K. R. James, K. Lee, H. Marshall, P. Ninnes, D. Scrafton, N. Smith, T. R. Stanton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Introduction: Co-design is a consumer-driven approach that facilitates consumer participation in creating meaningful solutions to complex problems. Poor uptake of core management strategies for osteoarthritis suggests there is a missing link in translation between research and practice. We partnered with osteoarthritis consumers as ‘co-researchers’ to identify translational research solutions to improve uptake of core management strategies that are grounded in lived experiences. Objective: To transparently describe a theory-driven, generative co-design approach using an integrated conceptual framework to collaborate with consumers at the equal partnership level. Design: We used co-design workshops with a non-hierarchical participatory framework. Three workshops with six co-researchers [2 female, mean age 68.7 (9.8) years, 3–30 years symptom duration] were conducted using activities to encourage creative thinking, promote deep reflection on personal/societal beliefs and minimise sensitivities around sharing personal beliefs (e.g., establishing a safe space, prompting questions, perspective-taking, counter-stereotypical exemplars). Results: All six co-researchers actively participated in the workshops. Achievement of an equal collaborative partnership was evidenced by co-researchers challenging a project proposed by the research team and making alternative recommendations that have been implemented in prospective decision-making – representing a complete change in research focus driven by consumer input. A key suggested solution was to develop a scalable knowledge translation intervention that targets misconceptions about osteoarthritis and its management at the societal-level. Conclusions: Through an innovative co-design approach in partnership with co-researchers, we identified meaningful areas on which to focus translational research for osteoarthritis. Discordance between existing research priorities and novel solutions proposed by co-researchers highlights the value of co-design.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)944-953
Number of pages10
JournalOsteoarthritis and Cartilage
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished or Issued - Jul 2023
Externally publishedYes


  • Co-design
  • Consumers
  • Health behaviour
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Participatory research
  • Patient and public involvement

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Rheumatology
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Orthopedics and Sports Medicine

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